Introducing our, often elusive, Director of Product Development John Sears. As you’ll read, John has been around a while, and quite possibly may be the only person with more intimate pack knowledge than myself (or Wayne), though I may bet the pink slip to the truck on that one. John is a fierce competitor with an unparalleled work ethic. I’m not sure where he finds time to play, because he’s always working, but he never misses out on a chance to get outside. Here are his words:
Full Name: John Sears
How long have you worked at Gregory and in what roles?
10 Years – started as a entry level product designer and developer, then product designer I, II & III, senior product designer, product design manager and currently the Director of Product Development for North America, Japan and Europe as well as a variety of emerging global markets.
What are your favorite activities outside of work?
Alpine Skiing, Mountain biking, fast packing & extended backpacking, fly fishing, any kind of traveling, cooking, and simply spending quality time with my family and friends as often as possible.
What is your favorite Gregory product and why?
Baltoro 70, Iron Gray, Medium Torso, Medium Waist and Shoulder harness components. This pack wears like a dream! I’ve trusted it to take me to some of the most desolate and pristine parts of the world so I know it like the back of my hand. As far as I’m concerned it’s the most comfortable backpack in the world. It has allowed me to safely approach and conquer endless peaks in the Eastern Sierra’s, but it has also made my life a dream on many more laid back four day weekend hikes, allowing me to continue my tradition of enjoying good food and wine in the backcountry when I’m soaking in the sunset after a great day on the trail!
What is one thing that we would never guess about you?
There is not a single Gregory product that I’m 100% happy with. As years go by of using any given style in our product line I always find things I know we should and will do better next time. It’s become clear what we do here is a journey and not a destination, so it buffers the satisfaction and keeps me constantly motivated to build the next perfect product. Our customers share in this dialogue and we welcome it with open arms every chance we get. It’s become very clear we learn the most from listening to the fresh perspectives of other people we meet and spend time with on the trail outside our immediate circle.
What’s Gregory strongest brand attribute in your mind?
Reliability. Every Gregory pack can be trusted. Our customers know what they are going to get when they spend their hard earned dollars to buy a Gregory product. I have a great deal of pride in this fact. We’re on the trail using these products every chance we have and over many years it has built and inspired a culture and a set of design principles that consistently produces results we’re proud of. The people are ultimately what make this happen and not just in our Salt Lake City office, but all over the globe. We are very fortunate to have so many great people working with us around the world to test products, engineer new materials and designs, build them to our strict standards and ultimately to make it easier to simply get out and enjoy the out of doors.
What’s your favorite “Wayneism”?
“Show Me”, Wayne yells! Not one suspension design can get Wayne’s stamp of approval without showing him how much it has been used and abused in the field. He wants to know product has proved to be intuitive to use, high quality in its construction and free from extraneous feature-creep. A sketch of an idea is not enough and it’s all too often these days that is what company’s are sending over to offshore factories and trying to sell in the market. Wayne is right to insist that a great product must be time tested in the field by people that have a passion for the activity, for quality and for every imaginable detail. He’s all about finding the right balance of weight and comfort, and understands that less weight doesn’t mean less energy spent on the trail. To accomplish this and get the handshake from Wayne on a new suspension design, you must first prove it with an exhausting trial and error of testing, refining then rebuilding time after time until every detail has been proved on the trail. Then, and only then, have you shown Wayne that the product is worth having his name on it.